Alright, I'll concede that my video review of Texas Chainsaw 3D wasn't my best effort. In fact I wouldn't say you were off the mark if you called it lazy, uninspired, or just plain disgusting.
That was sort of the point.
Texas Chainsaw 3D is shit—unremarkable in every imaginable way except for the fact that it's the second week of January and I'm wholly confident that I've seen the worst theatrical release this year has to offer. It's that bad. The sort of bad that I could never summarize in a 60 second YouTube clip. My review of Paranormal Activity 4 pushed the limits of just how much can be shoved into a minute long review. A similar treatment for Chainsaw wouldn't have scratched the surface of the loathsome depths this movie plunges the viewer into.
I'm not here to play tour guide for a shit spelunking trip. The cinematic sins of Texas Chainsaw 3D are numerous, but it's most egregious flaw is the film's own relentless pursuit of failure. It didn't have to be this way. You're better than this Texas Chainsaw. Well, not by much but you're still better than whatever the fuck I saw Saturday night. You could have been a gimmicky slab of fast food film; just silly, 3D gag fun. You could have embraced your raunchy, violent pedigree or given us the visceral gut punch so many wide-release horror films are missing these days. No, you Texas Chainsaw, are an uninspired mess whose sole aspirations are “have a beginning, middle and an end” and to your credit, you pull that off swimmingly. Unfortunately nothing else seems to be working in your favor outside of a functional bare bones plot structure. Worst of all, you didn't even try. Even with my sub-basement level expectations you are a disappointment. A disappointment content with being a disappointment. The lowest of the low.
Here's where someone, somewhere says: “I'D LIKE TO SEE YOU DO A BETTER JOB BUDDY."
How to make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie that isn't a complete pile of shit:
1. Don't make a Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie.
Seriously. Great films are being buried under a shit pile of remakes, reboots, sequels, and spin offs. Just stop already. Horror movies are some of the worst offenders. Would it kill a major studio to actually embrace a modern horror auteur like Ti West? Would it pain them to no end to give critically acclaimed horror film with obvious mass appeal a widerelease? The genre fans would come out in droves (see: Cabin in The Woods) and mainstream audiences clearly don't give a fuck. Horror films are quick, cheap, and almost guaranteed to make money. A GOOD horror film is quick, cheap, and has potential to make you a lot more money.
2. Understand your source material.
I used to think Tobe Hooper had no idea what the hell he was doing behind a camera. I've grown to realize that his level of cinematic expertise is irrelevant: Tobe Hooper just doesn't give a fuck. The original Texas Chainsaw was successful because it was so raw—and up to that point unlike anything that moviegoers had seen before. Maybe it was the violence that drew audiences in and gave the film it's notoriety initially, but The Texas Chainsaw Massacre became iconic because deep down it's fucking weird. Everything about the movie from the characters, to the plot, to scenery leaves the viewer feeling dirty. Hooper's direction orchestrates the mood with long, uncomfortable scenes heightened to point of surrealism by the amateur acting. Over a decade later, he had the balls to release a sequel that played out as a black comedy, openly mocking the original and essentially giving the middle finger to die-hard fans. Love it or hate it, Hooper remained true to his vision of defying your expectations and making you as uncomfortable as possible with his batshit lunacy.
Try as it might, the Texas Chainsaw franchise hasn't been able to recapture that grotesque weirdness that made it so successful and timeless.
A studio needs to let a Texas Chainsaw movie breathe. Give it room to push the boundaries of gore and good taste and let a young director experiment with aesthetic choices that can push the film into the realm of in-your-face shock the way the original did. If there was ever a compelling argument for a found footage/hand held camera re-imagining of a classic horror movie, this is it: gritty, cheap, and uncompromising. With the TCM name slapped on it. I promise you'll still make money hand over fist.
3. Commit to something
You'd think a movie with the balls to drop “The” and “Massacre” to make room for the promise of 3D would go all out to make sure Leatherface had a Chainsaw buzzing inches away from the camera; gore soaked arms, legs, and torsos flying indiscriminately toward the audience.Texas Chainsaw isn't that sort of horror/exploitation film so get your fucking mind out the gutter. Never mind that Pirahna 3D raised the 3D horror franchise reboot/remake bar a year ago by gleefully throwing Jerry O’Connell severed penis in our faces. Texas Chainsaw only brings flaccid post-converted 3D to the table, and you can't help but wonder why they even bothered in the first place. How about a greedy studio pushing more expensive “3D” ticket prices for a deceptively inferior product? That's about right.
You can forget about nudity too, because Texas Chainsaw 3D would never want to offend your delicate sensibilities with a flash of aureola after sawing a live man in half. Nudity is by no means a horror flick requirement, but the way the movie dances around it is not only a little odd, but downright embarrassing. Texas Chainsaw masquerades as the filthiest issue of Hustler, but insists on only flashing us pictures from a Sears catalog. There's nothing but navel here-- A SHIT TON of navel. It's unintentionally comical the way it's shoehorned in and eventually reaches the point where it becomes distracting. At least we finally have a movie that caters to blind 13 year olds who think Michael Bay invented movies in 1996 AND belly button fetishists.
Some of these things might seem trivial, but they're symptomatic of Texas Chainsaw 3D's biggest problem: a complete lack of commitment. Every film, good or bad, needs an identity in order to succeed. When movies lack personality or come off as disingenuous, people notice and they don't like it. Texas Chainsaw doesn't have any personality, and believe me, it doesn't want one. This is a heartless studio cash in, content to dangle possibilities in front of the viewer only to snatch away anything compelling in favor of something a little more focus group friendly.
I don't know if anyone can make a good Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie at this point, and quite frankly I don't give a shit if they do or don't. Whatever THIS movie is though—this can be prevented and it should be prevented. Texas Chainsaw 3D is a sobering reminder of just how terrible a film can be when it's not only inept but apathetic.